I love summer, that is no secret. I also love boys. Again, no secret. But what I really love are The Boys of Summer. Yes, baseball. I’ve always been that girl that likes sports. I like to watch them and I’ll even attempt to play them (poorly). But during my time here in Denver my relationship with sports, baseball specifically, grew. What was once a summer fling is now a full on love affair. Some people don’t get it. They find baseball to be slow and boring, like a person who tells the same ol’ tale over and over again. But not me. To me, baseball is deeper than just runs, outs and innings. It’s all about the strategy and the skill. And even if you can’t get into all that, it’s also all about the warm summer nights and cold beers and salty peanuts. And, even if you can’t get into THAT, it’s also about virile men in tight pants with big, thick…arms. Yes, there are just so many reasons I love baseball. It’s the only sport I can sit down and watch a game on TV when it’s people other than my teams playing. It’s the only sport whose All Star game I actually look forward to. It’s the only sport I follow in the off season. And it’s definitely the only sport whose post-season gets me excited, even when my teams aren’t involved (which, has been quite some time).
I guess if I had to narrow it down to five things that made the summer fling intensify to full on love affair, it would be this:
1. Walk Offs
There is nothing more exciting to me than when your team is down, it’s the 9th inning (or, even better, in extra innings) and just one great hit ends the game. The excitement the players have as they see that hit win the game is so pure, you would have to be Cruella De Vil not to smile and jump up in glee right along with them. The most amazing walk off I’ve seen was in a 2009 game, Rockies vs Giants. Rox are down in the 14th and Ryan Spilborghs, one of my all time favorites, knocks one out for a walk off grand slam. I still get a ridiculous smile anytime I watch the clip and see Spilly throw off his hat and sprint to home plate to his elated awaiting teammates (Google it, it’s great for a midday pick me up. Again, unless you are Cruella De Vil.)
Who doesn’t love an underdog? Your team is down, and down by a lot, but you just can’t give up because there’s always that hope that something amazing could happen to change it all. Well, picture being down 13-6 in the 5th. It happned on a 4th of July fireworks game in 2008. Most people didn’t leave because there were fireworks to be seen after the game, but regardless, I just couldn’t give up on my team that night. Over the rest of the game the Marlins keep scoring on us, but despite that 13-6 deficit, the Rockies never quit. And they score 12 runs over the next five innings to win the game 18-17. Now imagine the sold out crowd on their feet, delirious and in disbelief over the miracle they just witnessed. It’s quite the feeling.
3. The Stadium
I’ve said it many times. Coors Field is my favorite place in Denver. I truly will miss it. I’m not sure what it is, but when I walk in there, no matter how I’m feeling, I just feel…better. I have yet to sit in a bad seat and I have yet to be in another stadium with more amazing sunsets. What I also enjoy about stadiums in general? Stadium food. Truly, I could live off of Helton burgers or Friar Franks Chili Dogs from Petco Park for the rest of my life and be happy. Fat, but happy.
4. Being The Visitor
This may be weird, but in thinking about a man I’d like to meet, I’d like to meet someone with as much enthusiasm for baseball as I have because, yes, it’s nice to share interests, but also because I’d love to have someone to go on road trips with to see my teams play at away games. Seeing the Rockies play in San Diego was one of the best games I’ve ever been too. Despite the loss that day, I had so much fun exploring the stadium, trying out the food it’s famous for, and going to bars around it pre-game. And, I can’t lie, I also love being a bit of an instigator. I gotta represent my team, so damn right I’m going to holler and yell when my boys are up to bat or make a sweet defensive play.
5. The MEN
Okay, you had to know this was coming. As it is now on record that I like manly men, I find that athletes (in general) fall directly into the manly-men category. They are these fierce competitors that push themselves physically and mentally to be at the top of their game. They get riled up and exude testosterone, and don’t even get me started on how exciting I find bench clearing brawls to be! I don’t mess around when it comes to my love of baseballers. Even in the workplace, where I keep my private life, likes, dislikes, etc, pretty close to the vest, almost everyone knows that I am full on in lurve with Troy Tulowitzki and may have even had a little day of mourning when he married a few years back. Le sigh.
My heart does have two home teams since I grew up in KC, but secretly, the Rockies will always win out over the Royals, because it was through going to countless Rockies games over these last seven years that I really found my love of the game. Leaving behind my favorite team and Coors Field will be rough, I’ll probably even shed a tear or two at my last game on the 5th, but it’s nice to know I can always come back to a place I love and have these boys of summer waiting for me.
Update: Walk off win for the Rox today in extra innings. Yep, insert a shot of me hollerin at the gym as Torreabla got the winning hit.